Member for Yangoru-Saussia District Hon. Richard Maru says it’s time PNG processed all cocoa produced in the country into final products before exporting.
The Yangoru Saussia District is the leading cocoa-producing district in the country, producing 9,000 metric tons per year of East Sepik Province’s 15,000 metric tons. The district alone produces 20% of PNG’s cocoa and they are on a mission to double production to 18,000 metric tons per year in the next 5–10 years.
The first District to conduct a cocoa survey, in all LLGs and Wards with 3.2 million cocoa trees and 7,000 farmers. The aim for the district is to increase that to 7 million trees and 20,000 farmers. With a population of 80,000 that makes up 25% in cocoa farming.
Maru says down-stream processing will enable PNG to derive more value from its cocoa resources, increase revenue and importantly secure increased prices for farmers and create more jobs in the sector.
The member commends Paradise Foods (PNG) Ltd for building PNG’s first ever chocolate factory under the Queen Emma brand, stating they are processing 4,000 metric tons per year profitably. However, he believes there is room for more new players to come on the market to manufacture chocolate and other cocoa by-products.
PNG is currently the 11th largest producer of cocoa in the world, exporting 45,000 metric tons a year.